Factoid: "Humans are the best long distance runners on the planet". True?


Almost certainly… plus like others have said, we had pointy sticks, clubs and eventually bows and other weaponry.

The point they were making is that most animals are optimized for short intense bursts of running- sprints, as it were.

Humans are one of the few animals that can literally run all day, every day. I saw a show on it once- a lot of our physiology is adapted to run like that, and not in ways that are optimal to a less run-heavy life such as agriculture or modern life.

There are LOTS of articles on it- go google “human physiology distance running” and you’ll get more than you probably want to read.

Really? I’m pretty sure a human can outrun a spider… or a shark. Flopping around and suffocating is a really inefficient means of locomotion.

Pretty sure Horses would like to have a word with you on the whole long distance running thing.

Plus we can carry a gourd of water on a string over our shoulder and a long sharp stick.

Technically, other running animals could also carry a simple water-bottle harness; where we have the edge is that they couldn’t think of making one, or in most cases be capable of constructing one if they did think of it.

Great read. “Coldcock a kudu”, has got to be my phrase of the day.

Good read, I imagine an experienced crew would have even done better. Possibly moving the heard a bit slower until they isolated a slightly weakened animal. They proably had learned how hard they could push one without it sprinting out of sight and then just kept that up until it tired.

Yes it is true but I don’t think it is that unbelievable. There is a whole universe of athletic traits out there. Challenge a dolphin to a swimming contest some time and see how you do even if you are Michael Phelps. Go up against another primate like a gorilla or a chimpanzee in a strength or dexterity completion and you will get destroyed. Humans are talented mentally but only excel in a few of the athletic pursuits. I think it would be more remarkable if there weren’t any. All species are specialized to excel in one or more traits and that is one of the very few that humans excel in.

I once clocked a rabbit with a maddox handle wile on guard duty at the First Cav Museum. He was in the center of a large circle on old armored vehicles. I would approach around the corner of a Tank, and he would take off to the other side. I’d back off and circle around and run him 'round to the other side. After an hour and a half or so he just sat there in the middle and would only hop a couple of times. Till I got close enough to finally get a throw to connect. I had connections* in the Mess Hall and me and all the cooks had fresh rabbit stew.

*My first MOS was 94B (spoon platoon). After I re-enlisted, changed MOS and went to Korea for a year, I was stationed across the street from the Mess Hall I used to work in. Still had the same Mess Sargent I used to work for.

I’ll give you strength, of course, but apes are more DEXTEROUS than humans? Not sure I can buy that.

Should we really be comparing humans to the modern horse? Modern racehorses are the products of thousands of years of selective breeding. The modern horse is no more of a wild animal than a chiuahua is. If we want to do a fair comparison, we should be talking about humans versus something like this.

I’m pretty sure a trained human endurance hunter can outrun any horse during midday on the plains of Africa, or in the arctic, but not in cool, cloudy temperate zones.

Running alone would not be enough, any animal could quickly ditch a human. He would have to push them but not too hard as to loose them until they slowed down quite a bit before he could actually begin a chase.

Humans are specialized for endurance and dexterity I understand; our muscles are attached to our bones in a way that prioritizes control over power.

Your typical Stone Age hunter was no doubt an expert tracker as well as a good runner. And I doubt that large prey animals can be fast and stealthy at the same time; a running antelope or whatever is going to be leaving relatively obvious marks.

Most herd animals will try and make it back into the herd. Protection in numbers simply improves the odds for them. If they were to push the herd and wait to see the animals that couldn’t keep up I think they would improve their chances.

Also, the way I’ve heard this technique described it is not one individual, or a single group moving together, but a spread-out group.

With a good knowledge of the area, humans could force the target to run towards other members of the party, tiring the animal “for free”.

This would be much more efficient than running with the prey to the point that it collapses.

We can also run entire herds to exhaustion and entire species to extinction. Only in mother Africa where mega-fauna has evolved with us have they developed strategies to co-exist with us.
Everywhere else we’ve gone we ran the largest animals to extinction. It’s kinda what we do.

Some Native Americans, particularly the Plains Indians, ran down feral horses in order to capture them.

I can kill a fly by chasing it and keeping it from landing and resting. It eventually gets slower and slower and not even respond to be swatted at.

Human beings… best at annoying other species to death.